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Septimius Severus Tetradrachms


Al Kowsky
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Over the last several years I've noticed the auction & dealer prices of Septimius Severus tetradrachms surging in price, & frankly find this perplexing 😖. I'm not talking about just rare or fine style coins, but very common coins & some that are quite ugly. While browsing through CNG's Coin Shop I stumbled on the coin pictured below.

                                 1540008293_CNGCoinShop5601932SeptimiusSeverusLaodiceaadMarePrieur11491500_00.jpg.212be38cb8d54986d51f1f07579dde7e.jpg

Syria, Laodicea ad Mare. Septimius Severus, AD 193-211 (struck c.AD 208/9). AR Tetradrachm: 13.53 gm, 25 mm, 11 h. Prieur 1149. $1,500.

This is a very common coin, Prieur cites 94 examples, & I would rate the portrait style as poor. So is this coin really worth $1,500.00 🤔?

 

The coin pictured below is another example of Prieur 1149 that was auctioned by Heritage on October 29, 2021 for $2,640.00. Despite the NGC grade, I find this coin grossly over priced too, & is this coin really Fine Style 🤨?

1740770364_NGC2401101-014.jpg.cc2d3c9372100edc46c203a976672119.jpg

 

For comparison I won the coin pictured below at a Nomos AG auction on May 17, 2017 for $373.00 (including the 20% buyers premium). This coin is Prieur 1140, with 33 examples cited; so it too is also very common.

1766605738_4531309-003AKCollection.jpg.765a017ff6ac6f1e826b7c2276025a6f.jpg

My coin wasn't designated Fine Style, but I believe it is a much finer style than the Heritage coin ☺️. What do fellow NVMIS FORVMS members think 🤔? Feel welcome to post your Severus Tets 😉.

 

 

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Fantastic Plastic!  When I come to sell my NewStyles  I shall plastacise them so the collectors of plastic tombs can slide them in with their Mickey Mantel baseball cards, Michael Jordan rookie cards and a Babe Ruth autograph!

 

NSK=John

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1 hour ago, Al Kowsky said:

Over the last several years I've noticed the auction & dealer prices of Septimius Severus tetradrachms surging in price, & frankly find this perplexing 😖. I'm not talking about just rare or fine style coins, but very common coins & some that are quite ugly. While browsing through CNG's Coin Shop I stumbled on the coin pictured below.

                                 1540008293_CNGCoinShop5601932SeptimiusSeverusLaodiceaadMarePrieur11491500_00.jpg.212be38cb8d54986d51f1f07579dde7e.jpg

Syria, Laodicea ad Mare. Septimius Severus, AD 193-211 (struck c.AD 208/9). AR Tetradrachm: 13.53 gm, 25 mm, 11 h. Prieur 1149. $1,500.

This is a very common coin, Prieur cites 94 examples, & I would rate the portrait style as poor. So is this coin really worth $1,500.00 🤔?

 

The coin pictured below is another example of Prieur 1149 that was auctioned by Heritage on October 29, 2021 for $2,640.00. Despite the NGC grade, I find this coin grossly over priced too, & is this coin really Fine Style 🤨?

1740770364_NGC2401101-014.jpg.cc2d3c9372100edc46c203a976672119.jpg

 

For comparison I won the coin pictured below at a Nomos AG auction on May 17, 2017 for $373.00 (including the 20% buyers premium). This coin is Prieur 1140, with 33 examples cited; so it too is also very common.

1766605738_4531309-003AKCollection.jpg.765a017ff6ac6f1e826b7c2276025a6f.jpg

My coin wasn't designated Fine Style, but I believe it is a much finer style than the Heritage coin ☺️. What do fellow NVMIS FORVMS members think 🤔? Feel welcome to post your Severus Tets 😉.

 

 

I agree with all of your style assessments but beauty is in the eye of the guy with more money than sense according to current realizations.  I would love to have your $373.00 coin.  The others are for people who do not see as I do.  Wrong? Right? Just taste? 

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Posted (edited)

@Al Kowsky, I think the portraits on those first two coins from CNG and Heritage are quite ugly -- especially the first one! -- and I certainly wouldn't spend even a small fraction of the amounts mentioned on them.

I have only one tetradrachm of Septimius Severus, minted in Tyre, and it's actually quite a rare type, even if it's not in perfect condition. I wonder what CNG would ask for it in its coin shop. More than the < $600 I paid, I'm sure.

Septimius Severus, Billon Tetradrachm, AD 209-211, Phoenicia, Tyre. Obv. Laureate head right, AYT KAI CEΠ CEOYHPOC CE / Rev. Eagle standing facing upon club right, with spread wings and head to left, holding wreath in his beak; between legs, murex shell, ΔΗΜΑΡΧ ΕΞ ΥΠΤΟC ΤΟ Γ.  27 mm., 13.83 g, 11 h.  Prieur 1533. Purchased at Nomos Obolos Auction 22, 6 March 2022, Lot 576. Obverse die match to example of Prieur 1533 sold at CNG E-Auction 443, Jan. 5, 2019, Lot 422, ex. Freeman & Sear FPL [fixed price list] 1, 1994, A261. Reverse of this coin, including dots in legend, is die match to Prieur 1534 [obverse of 1534 differs from 1533 in that bust on 1534 is draped and cuirassed]. This coin is one of only three known examples of Prieur 1533: this coin, the coin sold by CNG in 2019 (ex Freeman & Sear), and Prieur 1533 itself (ex. M&M FPL 250, Dec. 1964/Jan. 1965, # 95).

image.jpeg.51daa195474eb5a812dea3417670c991.jpeg

The rarity was irrelevant to my decision to buy this coin; I bought it because I liked the portrait. (Nomos described it as "An attractive piece, well centered and with a splendid portrait of the emperor. Good very fine.")

Edited by DonnaML
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Nice tetradrachms everybody. Here's mine:

Septimius_Severus_04.jpg.8488504dd0d112668bc8c06ee1ead37e.jpg

Septimius Severus AD 193-211
Syria, Laodicea ad Mare
Billon tetradrachm AD 209.211
Obv.: AYT KAI CEOVHPOC CE, Laureate and draped bust
Rev.: ΔHMAPX EΞ YΠATOC TO Γ, Eagle standing facing, wings spread, holding wreath, star below.
Billon, 13.86g, 28x25.2mm
Ref.: Prieur 1163 (same dies)

 

Edited by shanxi
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Ar Tetradrachm of Septimius Severus Laodicea ad Mare 207-209 AD  Obv Bust tight laureate and cuirassed seen from front. Rv  Eagle facing slightly to the right head reverted.Prieur 1141 This coin illustraded. 13.55 grms 28 mm Photo by W. Hansenlaodicsseverus2.jpg.fb9503b5c44c37a9c5c9c7f5cb546c81.jpg

I had originally seen this coin at the NYINC back in January 2019. At the time I was more interested in replacing my Caracalla Tetradrachm so I gave this coin a pass. Naturally the moment I got home I regretted this decision. About a month later I made an arrangement to purchase this coin. To me this coin is a magnificent example by what can be achieved by a die cutter working in the eastern half of the Roman Empire.. 

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My opinion might be a bit different from most. For the second one, I can see a lot to appreciate. I might not call it "fine style" or pay to buy it, and I haven't studied or collected these myself, but I do love the unique styles of artistry from the various mints for Septimius tetradrachms.

For that one (no. 2), it seems like a nice exemplar of the local style. On the reverse, I love the different ways the feathers were represented -- spirals, hash marks, dots, plus more realistic looking triangles/diamonds. On the portrait, I really enjoy seeing  the eye / eyebrow / forehead construction, and the detail and sectioning of the beard. 

I also really like all the ones posted from everyone's collections. But, even though I've never bought one, I really favor the "weird" looking Septimius portraits over those with greater realism. (At least those well-executed for what they were.)

Edited by Curtis JJ
Verb -> noun; number -> article
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5 hours ago, Prieure de Sion said:

image.png.c4ef15a939c1ef340b9c7a8329b769aa.png

Prieur 1149 from Laodicea ad Mare

 

image.png.46c85e66fad83064bcebb22c8efe6b07.png

Prieur 1140 from Laodice ad Mare

 

P. de Sion, Both of your coins are handsome examples ☺️! What your 1149 loses in style is made up for by choice condition & stunning toning. Your 1140 is a wonderful strike & a Fine Style Tet with even attractive toning 😎.

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1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

@Al Kowsky, I think the portraits on those first two coins from CNG and Heritage are quite ugly -- especially the first one! -- and I certainly wouldn't spend even a small fraction of the amounts mentioned on them.

I have only one tetradrachm of Septimius Severus, minted in Tyre, and it's actually quite a rare type, even if it's not in perfect condition. I wonder what CNG would ask for it in its coin shop. More than the < $600 I paid, I'm sure.

Septimius Severus, Billon Tetradrachm, AD 209-211, Phoenicia, Tyre. Obv. Laureate head right, AYT KAI CEΠ CEOYHPOC CE / Rev. Eagle standing facing upon club right, with spread wings and head to left, holding wreath in his beak; between legs, murex shell, ΔΗΜΑΡΧ ΕΞ ΥΠΤΟC ΤΟ Γ.  27 mm., 13.83 g, 11 h.  Prieur 1533. Purchased at Nomos Obolos Auction 22, 6 March 2022, Lot 576. Obverse die match to example of Prieur 1533 sold at CNG E-Auction 443, Jan. 5, 2019, Lot 422, ex. Freeman & Sear FPL [fixed price list] 1, 1994, A261. Reverse of this coin, including dots in legend, is die match to Prieur 1534 [obverse of 1534 differs from 1533 in that bust on 1534 is draped and cuirassed]. This coin is one of only three known examples of Prieur 1533: this coin, the coin sold by CNG in 2019 (ex Freeman & Sear), and Prieur 1533 itself (ex. M&M FPL 250, Dec. 1964/Jan. 1965, # 95).

image.jpeg.51daa195474eb5a812dea3417670c991.jpeg

The rarity was irrelevant to my decision to buy this coin; I bought it because I liked the portrait. (Nomos described it as "An attractive piece, well centered and with a splendid portrait of the emperor. Good very fine.")

Your Severus Tet is a wonderful example ☺️! The portrait is fine style & the eagle reverse is stunning. The Tyre Mint has a tradition of engraving very fine eagles. Several years ago I sold two handsome Tyre Tets issued by Caracalla, & both coins had beautiful eagle reverses like your coin.

947933801_Prieurobv.die15511549.jpg.5c7228dc39a250bc847527ca1840b34b.jpg581317349_Prieurrev.die15511549.jpg.b31de3a4dc4f3574dda5ebb9b215f397.jpg

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1 hour ago, shanxi said:

Nice tetradrachms everybody. Here's mine:

Septimius_Severus_04.jpg.8488504dd0d112668bc8c06ee1ead37e.jpg

Septimius Severus AD 193-211
Syria, Laodicea ad Mare
Billon tetradrachm AD 209.211
Obv.: AYT KAI CEOVHPOC CE, Laureate and draped bust
Rev.: ΔHMAPX EΞ YΠATOC TO Γ, Eagle standing facing, wings spread, holding wreath, star below.
Billon, 13.86g, 28x25.2mm
Ref.: Prieur 1163 (same dies)

 

This is a very handsome Severus Tet with an excellent portrait ☺️! Congrats on discovering the double die match too 🤩.

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I have no Syrian tet of Septimius.  I always wanted one but not badly enough to pay the price for the ones I ran across.  As this thread shows, there are quite a few of them.  In art, there is a lot of room for opinions.  I have chosen to spend my tet-cash on those of Alexandria.  If anyone else has any, I would enjoy seeing them.  I doubt these will ever be as [popular as the Syrians because their average grade tends to be lower.  Mine are not the worst.   Severans from Alexandria are less common than coins of the century before, I believe, partly due to the fact that Commodus issued these in large quantities as did the earlier rulers of his century.  There must have been sufficient coinage in circulation that it was not necessary to make many.  They become more numerous in the time of Elagabalus and become very common through the rest of the century as their size and metal declined at an alarming rate.  ou will not agree but I prfer the portrait style of Alexandria over that of Syria. 

pa1050fd3421.jpg.03d09327490d3732fcb9d49bdf61e147.jpgpa1090fd3422.jpg.b511ef530c1ffdfe33e256a80d6fd398.jpgpa1130fd3423.jpg.b28f2cd216538b93a5ba53ab0f3cff54.jpgpa1170fd3424.jpg.11f6e0a18f24a745a31c36d19678a482.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, kapphnwn said:

Ar Tetradrachm of Septimius Severus Laodicea ad Mare 207-209 AD  Obv Bust tight laureate and cuirassed seen from front. Rv  Eagle facing slightly to the right head reverted.Prieur 1141 This coin illustraded. 13.55 grms 28 mm Photo by W. Hansenlaodicsseverus2.jpg.fb9503b5c44c37a9c5c9c7f5cb546c81.jpg

I had originally seen this coin at the NYINC back in January 2019. At the time I was more interested in replacing my Caracalla Tetradrachm so I gave this coin a pass. Naturally the moment I got home I regretted this decision. About a month later I made an arrangement to purchase this coin. To me this coin is a magnificent example by what can be achieved by a die cutter working in the eastern half of the Roman Empire.. 

Congrats on scoring this gorgeous Severus Tet ☺️! This coin type along with Prieur 1151 are the most beautiful Tets issued by Severus from the Laodicea ad Mare Mint. I managed to score a wonderful example of 1141 at the same Nomos AG auction that I won my 1140 example, but my 1141 cost me $932.00 🙁. I did get the coin slabbed. My obverse die looks like a match to your coin 🧐.

1701964309_4531309-004AKCollection.jpg.2ccdf2fa430a5712bcac7ef0edec86b8.jpg

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14 minutes ago, dougsmit said:

I have no Syrian tet of Septimius.  I always wanted one but not badly enough to pay the price for the ones I ran across.  As this thread shows, there are quite a few of them.  In art, there is a lot of room for opinions.  I have chosen to spend my tet-cash on those of Alexandria.  If anyone else has any, I would enjoy seeing them.  I doubt these will ever be as [popular as the Syrians because their average grade tends to be lower.  Mine are not the worst.   Severans from Alexandria are less common than coins of the century before, I believe, partly due to the fact that Commodus issued these in large quantities as did the earlier rulers of his century.  There must have been sufficient coinage in circulation that it was not necessary to make many.  They become more numerous in the time of Elagabalus and become very common through the rest of the century as their size and metal declined at an alarming rate.  ou will not agree but I prfer the portrait style of Alexandria over that of Syria. 

pa1050fd3421.jpg.03d09327490d3732fcb9d49bdf61e147.jpgpa1090fd3422.jpg.b511ef530c1ffdfe33e256a80d6fd398.jpgpa1130fd3423.jpg.b28f2cd216538b93a5ba53ab0f3cff54.jpgpa1170fd3424.jpg.11f6e0a18f24a745a31c36d19678a482.jpg

 

Your Severus Tets are excellent examples & are very scarce, they rarely show up at auction ☺️! The portrait on the 2nd example is my favorite 🤩.

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Very impressive coins! I settled for one of those "rare" specimens that only grade Very Fine. As a result, the price was very reasonable even from CNG. I really wanted one from Michel's collection after meeting him once at his shop in Paris in the 1990's. Tremendous individual who was incredibly patient with a new collector.

Roman Syria, Seleucis and Pieria, Laodicea ad Mare. Septimius Severus, AD 193-211. BI Tetradrachm (25.5mm, 15.44g, 12h). Laodicea ad Mare mint. Struck circa AD 209-211. Obv: •AΥΤ•KAI•-•CЄOΥHΡOC•CЄ•; Laureate head right. Rev: •ΔHMAΡX ЄΞ ΥΠATOC•TO Γ•; Eagle standing facing, head and tail left, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; star between legs. Ref: Prieur 1162 (this coin). Toned, a few light scratches and marks, graffito ‘K’ on reverse to left of eagle. Very Fine. From the Michel Prieur Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group eAuction 447, Lot 330. 

image.jpeg.0998a898551930e02f443e29fa530900.jpeg

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26 minutes ago, Edessa said:

Very impressive coins! I settled for one of those "rare" specimens that only grade Very Fine. As a result, the price was very reasonable even from CNG. I really wanted one from Michel's collection after meeting him once at his shop in Paris in the 1990's. Tremendous individual who was incredibly patient with a new collector.

Roman Syria, Seleucis and Pieria, Laodicea ad Mare. Septimius Severus, AD 193-211. BI Tetradrachm (25.5mm, 15.44g, 12h). Laodicea ad Mare mint. Struck circa AD 209-211. Obv: •AΥΤ•KAI•-•CЄOΥHΡOC•CЄ•; Laureate head right. Rev: •ΔHMAΡX ЄΞ ΥΠATOC•TO Γ•; Eagle standing facing, head and tail left, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; star between legs. Ref: Prieur 1162 (this coin). Toned, a few light scratches and marks, graffito ‘K’ on reverse to left of eagle. Very Fine. From the Michel Prieur Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group eAuction 447, Lot 330. 

image.jpeg.0998a898551930e02f443e29fa530900.jpeg

Nice score, & being a plate coin makes it extra special ☺️! The coin is hefty for a late issue, it must feel good in-hand 🤨.

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Of course I can't resist to showing my example after so many magnificient ones. So here's my Prieur # 1149 (the price paid isn't relevant since I bought it nearly 30 years ago, but it wasn't cheap back then, if I recall correctly)

532476ce524b4cbba6cfda479f29c525.jpg

Septime Sévère (13/04/193-04/02/211)

Tetradrachme de billon de l'atelier de Laodicée - troisième groupe c. 208-209

ΑΥΤ·ΚΑΙ·  ·CΕΟΥHPΟC·CΕ· Buste lauré et drapé de Septime sévère à droite vu par l'avant
·ΔHΜΑPX·ΕΞ·ΥΠΑΤΟΚ·ΤΟ·Γ· Aigle de face, les ailes déployées, la tête à gauche, tenant une couronne dans son bec. Entre les pattes, une étoile

11.89 gr

Ref : Prieur # 1149_039, Sear #2261 var, 

Provenance : VSO Albuquerque #40/73 du 23/01/1993

Q

 

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On 8/28/2022 at 3:17 PM, Qcumbor said:

Of course I can't resist to showing my example after so many magnificient ones. So here's my Prieur # 1149 (the price paid isn't relevant since I bought it nearly 30 years ago, but it wasn't cheap back then, if I recall correctly)

532476ce524b4cbba6cfda479f29c525.jpg

Septime Sévère (13/04/193-04/02/211)

Tetradrachme de billon de l'atelier de Laodicée - troisième groupe c. 208-209

ΑΥΤ·ΚΑΙ·  ·CΕΟΥHPΟC·CΕ· Buste lauré et drapé de Septime sévère à droite vu par l'avant
·ΔHΜΑPX·ΕΞ·ΥΠΑΤΟΚ·ΤΟ·Γ· Aigle de face, les ailes déployées, la tête à gauche, tenant une couronne dans son bec. Entre les pattes, une étoile

11.89 gr

Ref : Prieur # 1149_039, Sear #2261 var, 

Provenance : VSO Albuquerque #40/73 du 23/01/1993

Q

 

Q, That's an extraordinary example 😲, & of the Finest Style for the type 😎.

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